By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
After two days of testimony in his attempted-murder trial, William Archuleta accepted a plea agreement Wednesday that included a plea of guilty to second-degree attempted murder and a sentence of 13 years in prison.
“We are glad that William Archuleta is off the streets,” Tim Rose, Tenth Judicial District Attorney, said. “He is a dangerous individual with previous convictions of shooting at vehicles and buildings.”
Archuleta was originally charged with attempted murder in the first degree, aggravated battery, child endangerment, tampering with evidence and negligent use of a deadly weapon after shooting Bryan Cassidy, 30, of Tucumcari, in the leg during a fight at a house on South Monroe Street, Tucumcari, in August 2012.
Rose said Archuleta admitted to bringing the .380-caliber handgun to a party at the South Monroe house on the night of the shooting. Archuleta also admitted to knowing that Cassidy was at the party and that he knew a member of his family had been involved a previous dispute with Cassidy.
Rose said Archuleta admitted to having an agenda by bringing the weapon to the party and admitted that when the fight broke out he deliberately shot four or five times at Cassidy with the intent to take his life.
As part of the plea agreement, the attempted-murder charge was reduced to second-degree and the charge of child endangerment was dropped.
“Taking the plea agreement was in the best interest of my client,” said Ben Mondragon, Archuleta’s defense attorney. “In the two days of the jury trial, the state had not offered my client a plea deal,” even though, he said, Archuleta had a significant factual defense and evidence leaning in his favor.
Mondragon said, however, that Archuleta was already facing significant prison time for a previous probation violation, and that prompted Archuleta and Mondragon to accept the plea deal offered Wednesday.
Rose said Archuleta was on probation at the time of the shooting and is facing 7-1/2 years for possessing the handgun, a violation of his probation.
Mondragon said Archuleta could serve 6-1/2 years of his sentence and be eligible for early parole, depending on good behavior. He said Archuleta would also receive credit in his sentence for the 25 months he was incarcerated before his trial.